Database to track vulnerable children scrapped by Government
A multimillion-pound Government computer system swamped in red tape is to be scrapped after experts said it was a danger to vulnerable children, the Daily Telegraph can disclose.
By Heidi Blake
Heidi, how could you…. FAIL like this?!
Local authorities have spent the past four years implementing the Government's £72m Integrated Children's System (ICS) amid threats that critical funding would be cut if they did not comply.
This is fascinating. How much autonomy do these Local Authorities have? If they refuse to implement something dangerous, like ICS, and actually work FOR the residents in the boroughs they run, they are permitted to DO THAT? If this is the case, Local Authorities could bill themselves as proper servants by listing the things they DO NOT DO, like use 'anti terror' laws to spy on the people they are serving, or not interfering with Home Educators, whom they also serve.
But the system, described by staff as "an unworkable monster", generated stacks of paperwork 6ins thick for every child, had no way of tracking the siblings of abused children, and absorbed up to 80 per cent of social workers' time.
'No way of tracking siblings'… this sounds like something another database CAN do that Heidi has, quite inexplicably failed to mention in this article..
In response to a damning assessment of ICS by a group of Government-appointed experts, Baroness Morgan, the children's minister, has written to councils telling them they can abandon the controversial record-keeping system. She has left the responsibility for its replacement in their hands.
This is the dictionary definition of Disingenuous:
dis·in·gen·u·ousAC_FL_RunContent = 0;var interfaceflash = new LEXICOFlashObject ( “http://cache.lexico.com/d/g/speaker.swf”, “speaker”, “17”, “15”, ““, “6”);interfaceflash.addParam(“loop”, “false”);interfaceflash.addParam(“quality”, “high”);interfaceflash.addParam(“menu”, “false”);interfaceflash.addParam(“salign”, “t”);interfaceflash.addParam(“FlashVars”, “soundUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fcache.lexico.com%2Fdictionary%2Faudio%2Fahd4%2FD%2FD0272400.mp3&clkLogProxyUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fdictionary.reference.com%2Fwhatzup.html&t=a&d=d&s=di&c=a&ti=1&ai=51359&l=dir&o=0&sv=00000000&ip=5991faed&u=audio”); interfaceflash.addParam(‘wmode’,’transparent’);interfaceflash.write();http://cache.lexico.com/d/g/speaker.swf (dĭs’ĭn-jěn’yōō-əs)
- Not straightforward or candid; insincere or calculating: “an ambitious, disingenuous, philistine, and hypocritical operator, who … exemplified … the most disagreeable traits of his time” (David Cannadine).
- Pretending to be unaware or unsophisticated; faux-naïf.
- Usage Problem Unaware or uninformed; naive.
//–>dis’in·gen’u·ous·ly adv., dis’in·gen’u·ous·ness n.
Usage Note: The meaning of disingenuous has been shifting about lately, as if people were unsure of its proper meaning. Generally, it means “insincere” and often seems to be a synonym of cynical or calculating. Not surprisingly, the word is used often in political contexts, as in It is both insensitive and disingenuous for the White House to describe its aid package and the proposal to eliminate the federal payment as “tough love.” This use of the word is accepted by 94 percent of the Usage Panel. Most Panelists also accept the extended meaning relating to less reproachable behavior. Fully 88 percent accept disingenuous with the meaning “playfully insincere, faux-naïf,” as in the example “I don’t have a clue about late Beethoven!” he said. The remark seemed disingenuous, coming from one of the world’s foremost concert pianists.
Baroness Delyth Morgan KNOWS that ContactPoint is planned to be unleashed, and that the capabilities of ICS are a sub set of what ContactPoint will be able to deliver. To say, "you can do what you want" is simply absurd… its a sort of sideways lie. Absolutely disgusting.
Officials last night raised fears that vulnerable children were still at risk because it could take years to build a working alternative.
Heidi, are you COMPLETELY MAD? How can you write an article about this without at least Googling children database vulnerable UK many results about ContactPoint come up… for heaven's sake, BUY A CLUE.
Tim Loughton, shadow children's minister, said: "Ed Balls has finally had to admit what front line social workers have known all along – the Government's Integrated Children's System was at best a waste of money and at worst a danger to children.
And the same can be said of ContactPoint, only magnified to include EVERY CHILD in the UK.
"This system wasted more than £72 million of taxpayers' money, but the human cost to child protection and to the social work profession has been much higher."
ICS, which stores case records about children at risk of abuse, was introduced in the wake of the Laming report which revealed that information-sharing failures at Haringey Council led to the death of Victoria Climbie in 2000.
It is not information sharing failures that lead to the deaths of children. Databases cannot save children, or stop crime or prevent anything bad from happening. All they can do is put money in the pockets of contractors and take away the privacy of the people who are put in them.
Social services, when they have information about children at risk, should act on that information; sharing it with other people who also fail to act means that nothing is done. Its hot potato protection.
But the Social Work Task Force appointed this March to review child protection practices after the death of a second child in Haringey, Baby P, issued a damning verdict on the Government system.
In a letter to the Department for Children, Schools and Families this May, the Task Force called ICS a "burdensome process" which kept social workers "tied up in bureaucracy" and away from their duties on the front line.
And now, magnify that bureaucracy by the total number of people in the country who are going to be on ContactPoint, ELEVEN MILLION and you begin to get an idea of what a nightmare they are in for. ContactPoint is going to make people less safe, from the statistically insignificant number of people who are actually at risk to the vast, completely safe majority, who are now going to have their personal and sensitive data exposed to all and sundry, should ContactPoint go online.
An Ofsted report published last Friday found that Haringey council was still failing to protect vulnerable children and identified faults with ICS as part of the problem.
Blame the database? What did these people do BEFORE they had computers? Were people more safe before or after the implementation of databases? Are these tools actually getting in the way of people doing the real work that they are meant to be doing?
It stated: "The risks arising from these system dysfunctions are that data are unreliable, managers cannot easily track progress on cases and in some cases professionals… do not have access to critical child protection or safeguarding information."
And ContactPoint is going to magnify this exponentially. Also, the database tables for ContactPoint are going to need to be expanded dramatically in order to store all the information that is mentioned in that last blockquote and more. This means that ContactPoint as it is designed now, is just the skeleton of an even more intrusive monster system that is going to develop incrementally.
KILL IT WITH FIRE.
In her letter to councils, Baroness Morgan told councils she was "making it clear that local authorities will not be required to comply with the published specifications for ICS in order to receive capital funding".
Because ContactPoint is around the corner. Pure EVIL.
She added: "ICT systems which support children's care should be locally owned and implemented within a simplified national framework".
Called ContactPoint. There cannot be any social workers who do not know about ContactPoint. They must be scratching their heads at why she is not referring specifically to it in this communication. Perhaps she did. Heidi has not let us know. She failed to mention ContactPoint at all ini this article. Absolute unmitigated FAIL.
Local authorities had previously been forced to use Government-authorised computer systems, known collectively as the "Integrated Children's System", in order to qualify for crucial funding.
But despite telling officials they could abandon the Government model, the children's minister denied that ICS was effectively being scrapped.
She said in a statement: "Part of developing a highly skilled and professional workforce is ensuring that the IT system social workers use is accessible, workable and secure.
Databases can never be secure. Highly skilled workforces existed before databases. This is nonsense on stilts.
"The Social Work Task Force agreed that ICS is the right system but made a number of recommendations. Today we are driving this change forward."
How can it be the right system, but be optional, and now abandoned? Oh yes, hot is cold, day is night, and 2+2=9.
Council officers said they would have to "junk" the Government's specifications and start again from scratch.
Whith whose money? And what this will do is put massive pressure on government to expand the capabilities of ContactPoint; why have lots of little unconnected databases when you can save money with economies of scale by rolling out ContactPoint 2 that has tables for everything everyone could possibly need?
This is the chess game that this dying bunck of Aparatchicks is playing. If they scrap ICS now, they believe it will be harder for the Tories to scrap ContactPoint since the Local Authorities up and down the country were told to destroy their bespoke systems. The Tories will also be forced to expand ContactPoint to save money as I described above.
Sadly for Mutterschwein of Drefelin ContactPoint is being scrapped because it is dangerous and immoral. No matter how much efficiency it provides or what its capabilities are, it should be scrapped because its existence is an affront and danger to all decent people in the UK.
No matter how difficult you make it with these pre death of Neu Liebour moves, nothing can change this. Your police state apparatus is going to be dismantled and you are already disgraced for overseeing and agreeing with its implementation.
Andrew Christie, Director of Children's Services at Hammersmith and Fulham, said: "The Government has left social workers and vulnerable children at the bottom of a black hole that it will take years to climb out of.
Actually, this is an opportunity for you to build something clean and decent that does what it needs to do without being immoral or dangerous.
"We have already spent a huge amount of time and money implementing this labyrinthine system and now we will have to spend more time and money unpicking it and retraining staff."
But you MUST do this to be a moral person, so GET ON WITH IT and don't complain.
Staff at Kensington and Chelsea council, which had its funding cut for refusing to implement ICS in 2005, said they were being "inundated" with requests from other councils wanting to buy the alternative system they have built.
I wonder how it works?
RBK&C is also the council that publicly voiced skepticism about ContactPoint and offered shielding to whoever wanted it:
The Council has reservations about the scheme. These include concerns about the lack of publicity surrounding it and about security and confidentiality issues.
There are 33,000 children in Kensington and Chelsea. The Government expects their details to be included on ContactPoint and has made the Council responsible for the upkeep of that information.
The Government wanted the first 17 councils that are introducing ContactPoint to be using it from April 2009, with other councils – including Kensington and Chelsea – following in due course.
Although glitches in the system may delay the start date, the personal information of children living in the borough will be available to those first 17 councils as soon as they ‘go live’. Information on ContactPoint will include name, address, gender, a unique identification number and name and contact details of the child’s parent or carer. It will also show the child’s GP practice, health visitor, school and school nurse but not the detailed information that a GP or school would have.
The Government currently estimates that around 390,000 people who work with children will be able to access the database nationally. They will be fully trained and follow strict confidentiality guidelines.
Safeguards and confidentiality
Although the Government maintains that the security of ContactPoint is of paramount importance and that it has been rigorously tested, Kensington and Chelsea Council is concerned about security issues and the ability of the database to keep information about children who are adopted confidential.
At the time of writing representatives from the Department of Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) were still trying to remedy security issues that had been identified in the system.
The Government has proposed something called ‘shielding’ as an extra measure to protect children and families from harm. Shielding means hiding details of the child’s, young person’s or family member’s whereabouts and reflects the fact that the Government accepts that a small number of children, young people and their parent(s) may be put at significant risk if their whereabouts become known. If a child is shielded, only their name, date of birth, gender and unique number will be visible.
The Royal Borough is encouraging parents and carers to consider shielding for their child or children. The Council will deal with each request for shielding individually and according to its shielding policy. Parents or carers who want the Council to exercise its discretion regarding their data should get in touch as soon as possible. Children and young people themselves can also apply for shielding.
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is determined to support the best interests of its children and to address the understandable anxieties of parents/carers. Any request to ‘shield’ a record should include the reason why ‘shielding’ would safeguard the child. The Council will need to verify the applicant’s relationship to the child.
To enquire about shielding contact the CAF and Integrated Working Team on 020 7598 4694 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
What do you think?
I think you should not be implementing it at all. I think you are morally obligated to refuse it. I think ContactPoint is going to be scrapped.